Bollywood 101: Why Do They Sing?

Rashmi Daryanani , 30 Jun 2012
Bollywood Songs
Bollywood Songs

The boys in the office, Nowshad Rizwanullah and Mike Melli, aren’t terribly “Bollywood-inclined”, which is why I get odd stares whenever I go into my full-on Bollywood mode (which, let’s be real, is all the time). Since I eat, sleep, blog and breathe Bollywood everyday, I’ve decided to take it upon myself to educate those unfortunate souls who have not yet embraced the magnificence that is Bollywood. And I’ll start by answering the one question I get the most from those who are uninformed: why the hell do they keep breaking out into song-and-dance?

Personally, I believe the whole song-and-dance routine is a highly necessary element in Bollywood, so here are five answers to the question, “why do they keep singing?” 

1) To profess their love.

Come on, what’s a more romantic way of telling the girl you love her than breaking out into a sweet song dedicated just to her? In the old days, men liked to stand under the girl’s balcony and serenade her. We just take it a step further by parading through the snow in scanty saris. So why complain? And in any case, the rest of the world is only just waking up to our awesomeness: have you seen the number of flash mob wedding proposals lately?

2) To seal the deal.

Okay, so now that you’ve told the girl you love her, you’ve gotta seal the deal. It’s time to establish that yes, we’re totally digging each other, and are now officially an item – and of course, the best way to do that is through a song! If it worked so well the first time around, why should it fail you now?

3) To tittilate.

Who doesn’t love a little masala with their Bollywood movies? That is exactly where the item number comes in. Scantily-clad girls dancing around to upbeat music and lipsyncing to suggestive lyrics… what’s a better way to elicit a seeti in the cinema hall? Not to mention repeat viewership!

4) To daydream.

Who doesn’t love a good daydream? Bollywood sure does, and the best daydreams are done through songs. I mean, say you’ve got three characters in your film involved in a love triangle. As a producer, you want the most bang for your buck by having each character star in a song – but in normal circumstances, that probably won’t work, because it doesn’t make sense to pair two people up for a romantic song when their love isn’t mutual. Fear not, though: this is Bollywood, and we have the answer to everything! Just throw in a daydream song, and the guy can now officially frolic with the woman of his choice, even if she doesn’t love him back.

5) To show exotic locales.

How else can a person who’s got only 150 rupees travel around the world in two-and-a-half hours? Bollywood is the best way: just head to the cinema hall, and in a short amount of time – and with very little cash – you can see the best of Switzerland, Egypt, Europe, America. Now, if that’s not paisa vasool, I don’t know what is.

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